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Could Idaho state lines change? Idaho officials weigh in on moving Oregon's border

'Greater Idaho': Some Oregon residents petition to join Idaho by moving border
Posted at 7:28 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 23:27:08-05

BOISE, Idaho — Several republican-leaning counties in Oregon, Washington, and California are petitioning to begin the processes to change state lines and join the state of Idaho.

Only a few counties in Oregon have made it to the phase where it makes it onto the ballot.

"It's basically a movement to realign the Oregon/Idaho border, so that more of the rural counties in Oregon become part of the state of Idaho," said Mike McCarter from Move Oregon's Border.

In a statement, Idaho Gov. Brad Little said he understands the draw to Idaho, but the move is a ways off.

“I understand why many people want to be Idahoans. They’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our strong economy, regulatory atmosphere, and our values," Little said in the statement. "There’s a lot that needs to happen before moving the border is within the realm of possibility.”

Here is how the process would work:

After the public vote, counties will draft a bill to be sent to the Oregon legislature, from there the Oregon legislature would make amendments and propose an agreement, the bill would then have to pass the legislature and be sent to Idaho.

The same process would have to happen in Washington, and California for those counties also wanting to join Idaho.

From there, all states involved would have to reach an agreement, the collected agreement bill would have to pass the Idaho legislature. If approved, it will then head to the United States Congress where it will need to be approved in both the House of Representatives and Senate before any changes would be made.

In Idaho's legislature, Democratic House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel is opposed and says there is a lot of vast differences at play between Oregon and Idaho, such as education, pay, and legal marijuana, both medical and recreational.

"It might be challenging for Idaho having an influx of residents who are accustomed to a very different framework in terms of services that government provides and government permits", Rubel said.

Republican Barbara Ehardt said she's intrigued by the conversation.

"Nothing happens without a beginning conversation. Moves such as this would have to be mutually beneficial. The obvious is beneficial to some of those in Oregon to find a state where some of them are like minded, but there would be benefits to Idaho, certainly and somethings would have to be work out", said Ehardt.

Rubel believes this would further entrench divisions within the country saying, "I think that can be dangerous to only be surrounded by people that you agree with. I think we would benefit from diversity of mindset and more conversation with people who might differ with us."

McCarter wants people to know the goal is not to make Idaho different.

"We don't want to change anything about Idaho at all, we like what they're doing, we like the way that they are, but we're a group of pretty conservative people in rural Oregon and we just want to maintain those conservative values if we can." McCarter said.

This article was written by Jake Garcia for KIVI.